Rethink Retail: Deliver Connected Customer Experiences
 
According to a research conducted by Big Commerce: 67% of millennials prefer to shop online rather than in-store. Millennials, also known as ‘Echo Boomers’, are the largest generation of young people that constitute approximately 30% of the population in Pakistan only.1
 
Globally, the retail industry has entered into a new era — an era in which digital consumers have essentially changed their buying behaviors through the usage of latest technologies. Digital consumers literally carry retail offerings in their pockets now. On the contrary, for too many retailers, the digital shift is more of a multi-channel strategy. Responsive website? Check! Mobile App? Check! Active Social Media Channels? Check! The focus is on delivering a checklist of disparate digital channels and not on building a cohesive customer experience. Although, the term Omni channel has become a part of the day to day vocabulary of retailers, many of them are still struggling to understand the true essence of it, , which is heavily reliant on the fluid demands of digital customers.
 
To stay relevant, retailers need to deeply understand the shifting behavior and habits of always-on-the-go customers. They must seek to improve technologies and platforms to exceed customer expectations across all channels and prepare themselves for the future needs of these digital customers. Now is the time to rethink and redefine the digital transformation in the retail sector.
 
Connected customer experience has become a new El Dorado for retailers. The realization of its full potential demands an outside-in approach — ultra-focused on customers and agile enough to respond to the ever-changing needs of the market. Unlike the past, when businesses were driven by Inside-out thinking in which strategies were developed internally with the focus largely on internal viewpoints, the outside-in approach starts with questions like, what do customers really need?; What value can your products deliver to the customers; and then designing your offerings around those ideas.
 
The outside-in approach is simple. It requires retailers to keep their digital assets flexible and to be able to collaborate with external partners to design new products and services quickly. This process exchanging information to and fro the systems and formulating a cohesive and frictionless experience for the ender users— requires open APIs. Well-managed APIs enable the retailers to allow developers to connect with legacy systems and mix and match data to deliver new products, services and applications quickly at scale.
 
It will not be incorrect to say that retailers today are battling in the micro-moments of digital customers. Moments like I-want-to-know and I-want-to-buy, are the ones that trigger the customers to pick up their mobiles and search for relevant options. The buying decisions take place in a matter of seconds. In such an environment, cohesiveness, reliability and speed become an integral part of the whole system. And only those retailers remain competitive who can transform these micro-moments into profoundly connected customer experiences.